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6 Lessons I Learned from the Barber Shop

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A lot of people choose to not go to barber shops to get their haircuts. They may go to a salon, cut it themselves, or have their wife do it. With self-cut systems it’s possible to groom yourself if you are low maintenance, but only barbers are going to be able to cut your hair exactly how you want it and quickly. There are more benefits than just getting your haircut from a barber that I realize now as a man that I learned growing up.

While many men opt to cut their own hair, this can easily go wrong. For this reason, finding a barber you can trust is a worthwhile investment. While the average haircut cost is $53, you can easily find barber who will work for less than that.

I’ve been going to the same barber for almost 20 years and I’ve noticed that there are some extremely valuable lessons I learned that helped me in other areas of life. If you’re looking to further your career or dating, then having a hairstyle that’s in style now can also easily add some status to your look. It’s not important to everyone, but having a nice cut can go a long way, along with being well groomed.

Greeting People When You See Them

As a young child, it’s natural to be shy around adults and keep to yourself. A lot of times when you’re a small kid and you enter a shop full of grown men, it can be intimidating. You put your head down, you speak softly only when spoken to, and you try not to make eye contact with anyone.

When I first went to the barber, my father had me say hello to each and every barber with a handshake when I got there. Social skills are such an important skill to have because that’s how we experience happiness, usually with other people. We have to be able to communicate with people to get what we want and to exchange value.

By greeting people you are more personable and if you are going to the same place every few weeks, it establishes a relationship. I’m not sure if that’s something that is done at every barber shop, but at least at the ones I’ve gone to, not everyone but a good amount of people greet everyone when they get there.

It may be part of the Latino culture because it’s a barber shop in Miami. In the Latino culture, it’s customary that when you go places where you know people that you greet the men with a handshake or hug and kiss depending on how close your relationship is with them, and a kiss and/or a hug for the women depending on how well you know them.

That certainly made it easier to learn this lesson, but if that’s not normal in your culture, then doing it at the barber shop can be even more of a distinction you’ll see and learn the lesson.

How to Do Small Talk

Small talk is one of those things that a lot of people don’t like to do, but it’s where all relationships start. Your closest relationships started somewhere with small talk. When you go to the barber, it’s only right to talk to them and ask how they’re doing. They’re going to ask you so you may as well ask them to.

Depending on what you do for a living, your barber can be a source of referrals for you. The barber talks to many people every day that are similar to you and in different businesses. So if you have a strong relationship with your barber and they trust you, they can be a connector for you to business.

Say Goodbye to People When You’re Leaving

Just like saying hello, at the barber shop I was taught that after you get your haircut you pay your barber (with a tip of course), shake their hand and then proceed to shake every other barber’s hand or a simple fist bump will do.

That’s also another lesson that may be part of the Latino culture but less us know if it’s something you learned from the barber too. As a Latino, you’re taught that whenever you leave someone’s house or place of business, you say goodbye. Depending on the situation it can be a wave goodbye, handshake, fist bump, hug or kiss.

What’s the Hottest Music out Right Now

Music is such an easy way to get a good boost in your mood. Sometimes our playlists get stale and we need some new tunes. The barber shop is always going to be playing the newest music and that’s where I get a lot of the new music I add to my playlist.

My barbershop plays a lot of hip-hop, rap, and Spanish music like reggaeton, salsa, and merengue. Wherever you live, the local barbershop will probably listen to similar music to you and you can find a lot of good new music that makes you feel great.

What’s Important Going on in the World

It’s not great to be watching the news all of the time because it affects your sense of what’s important. There’s a battle between maintaining your sanity and also being aware of emergency situations like if there’s going to be a mandatory quarantine and food shortages.

Without having to watch the news every day, you can find out anything that’s going on that’s really important because they’ll be talking about it at the shop.

How do People Think Normally?

Since the barbers are all talking to each other and the clients, you get to hear a lot of opinions on the big topics that are hot at the moment. Things like sports, scandals, crimes, and the craziest stories you can imagine.

The barbers entertain each other all day so a lot of what they say could be just to be funny but underneath all of that, you’ll see what they think subconsciously. This can help you to get an idea of how people think and how people interact and you can use that to your advantage for communicating with people in romance, family, business, and friendships.

Final Words

You can learn a lot from going to the barber shop, and if you have kids, it can be important lessons for them on the way to becoming men. I was taught that a man looks people in the eye, has a firm handshake, and keeps his word. That translates to communication and interpersonal skills that will help you in any aspect of your life.


About the Author: Joseph Montero is a digital marketing agent from Miami, FL. He’s into fitness, MMA, and entrepreneurship. His family roots are from Cuba and he is part of a family business.

Joe Montero

Joe Montero

4 thoughts on “6 Lessons I Learned from the Barber Shop”

  1. The article is interesting, well intended, and will be valuable for some barbers and customers.

    But I have a somewhat contrarian view. I go to a barbershop for one compelling purpose: to get a quality haircut, and to get it cut exactly the way I want it, not the way the barber thinks it should be cut.

    Therefore I believe limited conversations should be confined to my hair, my styling instructions, and to the progress of the cut. I do not go to a barber shop to give or to receive social stimulation.

    During the haircut, keep an eye on how the barber is doing. Give him occasional input and reminders. And above all, don’t go to sleep, figuratively or literally, or you might awaken to an undesirable surprise!

  2. Excellent article. Barbershops when growing up in the 50’s were great places for a child. Good talk and interaction along with the great aroma when you walked in the door. As an adult living in a small community, I went to the same barber for 35 years. Most of the males in the community went to him also. It was a great place, a gathering spot, where we interacted, joked, and talked sports or politics. The barber unexpectedly died and most of the men in the community and area, including me, wandered around like lost souls for a period of time. We did eventually get a new barber and to his credit, he kept the same shop.

  3. A very well written article and very true. In today’s world, there are so few “Barbershops” Mostly what you have in large cities are “drop and snip” places, supercuts etc… Where the interaction with “barbers” is minimal, they want you in and out as soon as possible so that they can get to the next person inline, very much the cattle call type operation, based on the model for Southwest Airlines, head ’em up and move ’em out. Barbers are a rare breed these days, I myself would love to find an old fashioned shop in the San Antonio area, but, they are few and in between.

  4. Good article. And all the points mentioned are true. The same exchanges take place at the barber shop I go to. I own a coffee/tea shop. And we have the same experience here too. The banter with each other & the regulars. Connecting people with a business or organization to fill a need. I love it.

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